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Bear bile 'needed for medicines' (2)

By Shan Juan and Sun Li (China Daily)

08:43, March 06, 2012

"People suffering from some diseases would die without bear bile. In fact it's widely used for health preservation products," said an online writer called Halubi in a post on the Sina news portal.

According to the State Forestry Administration, by 2006, China had 68 registered bear farms by 2006 where about 7,000 black bears were kept for bile extraction.

CPPCC members Feng Jicai, a famous writer, and Han Meilin, an accomplished painter and sculptor, made a proposal calling for the immediate cessation of bear bile extraction.

"The cruel act of confining bears in a small iron cage and taking bile by inserting a tube into the animals' abdomens is totally unacceptable and would tarnish the image of our country," Feng said.

He called for a revision of the current regulations to outlaw the practice.

Han Meilin said: "Although I haven't personally witnessed bile extraction, I could feel the pain. It's heartbreaking."

Incensed by some claims that the process is painless and harmless for bears, Han urged in the proposal that the authorities cooperate with scientists to conduct research, and if that showed the practice harmed animals, to ban the extraction of bear bile.

"They said there is no pain because they were not stabbed. I wonder what they would say if I poked them," Han said.

"To be honest, I don't think there is any point discussing this. Consensus should be immediately reached on this issue without rehashing the previous discussion," Han said.

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